Once Upon a Smell

Does a certain smell evoke a particular memory for you?
Does it bring someone to the forefront of your mind?
Does it trigger a fear or something unpleasant?

In the 1946 film ‘A Matter of Life and Death’, David Niven’s ‘episodes’ were preceded by the smell of fried onions. It’s a classic, and one of my all time favourites.

film david niven
For years I used virgin olive oil for cooking, not realising that it affected Hubby’s sleep patterns. Since changing to sunflower oil (and not doing that much cooking requiring it), things have settled back to (his) normal.

pipeBoth of my grandfathers smoked a pipe, though I couldn’t tell you the brand of tobacco either used. But the smell of pipe tobacco always reminds me of them. My father smoked one too occasionally, and had a small rack of two or three on our mantlepiece.
He also enjoyed the odd cigar, but mostly rolled his own cigarettes using Digger Shag and blue papers.
tobacco and papersI have never liked the smell of cigars though, this being enhanced by one of the Company Directors in the 80s who smoked at least ten a day. Being before the smoking ban in the workplace and public places, his office was permanently smog filled and when the door opened, he would appear in a smokey (and stinky) haze like someone out of the mist on a variety show.
candy flossThe smell of candyfloss (cotton candy) reminds me of trips to the fair, Weymouth Esplanade and a red dress made for me in the 60s by my great-grandmother.
The material was reversible, being plain on one side, and chequered on the other, so with her clever needle and eye, she made my sister and I dresses with contrasting inverted pleats in the skirt.
inverted pleatThis is the closest image I could find.

I loved that dress, and ruined it by dropping candyfloss all over it. Luckily, I got my sister’s handed down, and I treated it with reverence!

The smell of frying bacon reminds me of a particular camping holiday in Scotland, where Mum cooked us all breakfast whilst Dad was working out how the tent should have gone up the night before.

I love the smell of flowers, fresh bread, chinese food and cut timber.  How about you?


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
This entry was posted in film/tv/book, food, Just a thought, Memories, Sense and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Once Upon a Smell

  1. Victo Dolore says:

    I had not really registered cotton candy as having a scent but you can bet I’ll pay attention next time I am around any.

  2. I have done one that might interest you and your readers. It is one of my favorites, though I have written about smoking and Camel cigarettes. But try this for size, as they say. And Estee Lauder Youth Dew…? http://memoriesofatime.com/2014/08/08/paint-smells-indelible/

    • Interesting read, and so sad, that lone man dying and no-one helped him.
      Being an ex-smoker, I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes at all now. A colleague in the 70s wore Youth Dew, and when I tried Poison at the smelly counter in the department store in the 80s, by the time I got back to the office, I stank of bleach!

  3. Although I can’t stand the smell of cigarette smoke, the scent of cigarette smoke on clothing brings back fond memories of my favorite aunt. She and my uncle were heavy smokers, but I loved them dearly.

  4. Smell is the strongest trigger of memories.

  5. I’m transported by smells regularly to other places. Recently, I keep smelling a scent (in many places) that reminds me of a particular hotel in Vegas. Perhaps, though, I just want to go to Las Vegas!

Comments are closed.